The Kosher Gourmet

Inspiration From My Garden And My Bobba’s Recipe Book

By: Lauren Boolkin

Almost every aspect of Jewish observance is inseparable from the world outdoors. The festival of Shavuot illustrates this relationship. On the one hand, Shavuot celebrates the first fruits of the harvest, while on the other hand it celebrates the giving of the Torah. This reminds us that agriculture and Torah are thoroughly entwined, enough that they share a festival. For me, the Jewish mother that I am, my biggest joy is to feed people. This is closely followed by the ability to feed them from my garden. So, as we head into the festival of Shavuot, I have tried to share recipes which in some way use my Autumn harvest.

Papaya Soup

Sounds bizarre, I know, but it’s beyond delicious! Papaya is also naturally rich in digestive proteins (hopefully helping with the digestion of the kugel). It also contains insoluble fibre and anti-inflammatory properties.


  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 ½ small onions
  • 2 garlic clove peeled and minced
  • 2 tsp fresh ginger
  • 2 papinos
  • 6 large carrots peeled and thinly sliced
  • 2 cups Massell vegetable stock
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ cup coconut milk
  • Salt to taste


In a large saucepan, gently sauté onion, ginger, and garlic on a low heat until translucent. Add the papaya, carrots, and stock. Sauté on a slightly higher heat for 2 minutes, stirring continually. Reduce the heat to low and cook until the carrots and papaya are soft.

Transfer to a blender and puree until smooth. Return to the saucepan. Add coconut milk, cinnamon, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine. Serve immediately.

Whole butterflied line fish

Fish is seasonal, and it’s therefore best to by the catch of the day. Ask your fishmonger to butterfly the fish. I work on 200g per person.

  • Ingredients
  • 1,5 kg linefish butterflied
  • 5 tbsp lemon juice
  • 10 tbsp olive oil
  • 30g butter cubed (optional)
  • 3 handfuls of fresh oregano
  • 250ml feta
  • Salt and pepper


Wash and dry fish well.

Place on a large baking sheet or tray upon which you have placed a sheet of tinfoil shiny side up. Season fish with coarse salt and pepper. Beat together lemon juice and olive oil with a teaspoon to create an emulsion (make it a bit thicker). Pour evenly over the fish and dot with butter. Cover with crumbled feta and oregano and place on a hot BBQ or in a 200-degree oven. Baste frequently until fish is cooked through. (Thumb suck: 10 minutes for each 1 cm of thickness)

Bobba Esther’s Lokshen Kugel

I am a gadget junkie, but was expressly forbidden to chop the onions for the kugel in the magimix. Not sure why? But I do as I’m told.


  • 3 large onions diced BY HAND
  • My Bobba said 2 cups of sunflower oil. I use 1 cup in a non-stick pot and it’s more than enough
  • 2 pkts of tagliatelle cooked according to packet instructions
  • 6-8 tbsp of syrup (to taste). I use about 9
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp (at least) of cinnamon
  • 2 tsp (at least) of ginger
  • 6 shakes pepper
  • Handful of raisins
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 8 eggs


Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Gently sauté onions in oil until translucent. Place cooked tagliatelle in a very large bowl. Add onions which have been drained (reserve the oil) to the tagliatelle, followed by all the other ingredients. Mix well and taste. Place enough of the reserved oil in a non-stick ovenproof pot and swirl it around to evenly coat the bottom and sides of the pot. Place the pot in the preheated oven for about 8 minutes to heat the oil. You will know the oil is hot when a piece of pasta sizzles when placed in the pot. When oil is hot, add the pasta mixture to the pot and bake until golden brown on top.

Chargrilled Fennel and Asparagus with Pearl Couscous and Coriander oil

(Adapted from a recipe by Hetty McKinnon)

All the components can be prepared a few hours in advance and stored out of the fridge in separate containers uncovered.


  • 3 fennel bulbs washed checked and thinly sliced
  • 2 pkts asparagus
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 1 red onion finely sliced
  • 250 g pearl or Israeli couscous
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • ½ cup coriander leaves
  • ¼ cup of sunflower seeds toasted lightly on a baking sheet in a 180degree oven
  • Coriander Oil
  • 1 Cup of coriander stems and leaves
  • 150ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 chilli washed and deseeded
  • 3 tsp honey
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • 15ml water


Make coriander oil by blitzing together all the ingredients. Set aside.

Toss the fennel, asparagus, and olive oil together in a large bowl. Season with freshly ground salt and pepper.

Heat a griddle pan until smoking hot. Cook the fennel and asparagus in a single layer until they are tender. (A baking sheet in a 200-degree oven also works. Especially if you’re in a hurry, which I generally am.) Slice the red onion. Coat in 1 tbsp olive oil and char-grill in the same way until the onion is soft.

Bring a large pot of boiling water to the boil. Add the couscous and cook until it is soft. Stir frequently. Refresh in cold water.

Season the couscous with the salt pepper and lemon juice. Add the asparagus fennel coriander and red onion.

Just before serving, drizzle over the coriander oil and sunflower seeds.

White Chocolate Salted Caramel Cheesecake.

(Cake base adapted from Myrna Rosen)

This cake should be made 1 day in advance. It theoretically keeps for 3 days…but not in my house.

  • 1packet Marie Biscuits crushed
  • 90g butter, melted
  • Filling
  • 3 punnets (750g) of Woolworths cream cheese blocks or similar
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 3 jumbo eggs
  • 360g white chocolate
  • 125ml cream
  • 250ml sour cream

Turn oven to 180 degrees

Magimix cream cheese until smooth. Add sugar and blend. Add eggs one at a time blending well after each addition.

Melt chocolate. Gradually stir in cream. Add to magimix with sour cream and whizz again.

Pour into crust. Bake for 30 mins. Turn off oven and leave for 1 hour.

Salted Caramel Macadamia Nut Topping

  • Nut Topping
  • 150g Macadamia nuts
  • 90g Castor Sugar


Turn oven to 140

Roast nuts for 15mins until golden

Line a baking tray with baking paper. Place the sugar in a large heavy based saucepan. The layer of sugar must be thin. Heat gently until the sugar caramelises. Carefully add the toasted nuts and coat in caramel. Pour the mixture onto the lined baking sheet and leave to set.

Caramel Sauce
  • 100g unsalted butter
  • 75g brown sugar
  • 75g castor sugar
  • 75g syrup
  • ½ cup cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Stir all the ingredients together for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in 1 tsp of coarse salt. Allow to cool.

Pour over cake and sprinkle with the macadamia shards

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